Since the beginning here at Christ’s Church of the Valley, “staffing” has been one of the biggest challenges in fueling growth. There is a continuous, ever-increasing need for people to lead stuff!
From very early in the life of our church, we’ve focused on identifying and “raising up” leaders. And, in a church focused on reaching the lost, you often are developing leaders and leading them to Christ all at the same time. Or, is it leading people to Christ and developing leaders at the same time? Regardless, fueling the growth of the church requires us, as church leaders, to get very good at identifying potential leaders, getting them across the line of faith, and plugging them into significant areas of ministry. I believe that God provides people with the necessary gifts and our job –as leaders– is to identify and cultivate those gifts.
By far, the key around here has been the recognition and cultivation of an individual’s desire to serve through establishing progressively more “formal” employment relationships – internships. The difference between a “volunteer leader” and an “intern” is in how they are treated and the level of responsibility they are given. An “intern” (paid or unpaid) is treated more like a staff member and less like a volunteer. They have Moviechurch.com e-mail addresses, a phone, and access to everything –budget, church management software, as well as other tools and resources– a paid staff person does.
There is a “formal relationship” established, and the individual meets some requirements. They go through a pretty extensive assessment process including a formal application, a comprehensive questionnaire, a criminal background screening, reference checks, interviews, and other forms of assessment.
When a salary is needed or an increase in the level of accountability to the church, a “paid” internship might be the best solution. You would be surprised how far a relatively low hourly rate of pay will go when it comes to commitment to the job and increase in contribution. Paid interns are required to maintain “regular” hours and are asked to participate in all staff activities.
Here at Christ’s Church of the Valley, the necessity to continuously fill an increasing number of leadership needs has resulted in the development of a 6 step process:
- Leadership Evangelism
- Volunteer Leader
- Unpaid Intern
- Paid Intern
- Part-Time Staff
- Full-Time Staff
Every ministry leader is expected to “leadership evangelize,” continuously identify potential leaders, plugging them into significant leadership roles. The process begins with identifying individuals who look, talk, walk and act like leaders. This is done in many ways ranging from an introduction in the lobby on Sunday morning to a more “scientific” method of using process queues in Church Community Builder to identify and keep track of potential leaders. Once a person has been identified, beginning to meet with them to discover their leadership potential is the next step in the process. This is most often done with a specific leadership position(s) in mind. Over the course of a couple of meetings the ministry leader works on discovering the potential leader’s personality, passion, and if they’ve been baptized, spiritual gifts. Of course, if they have not yet crossed the line of faith, working with them on taking that step becomes the focus.
So, the key is to identify leadership potential; discover personality, passion, and gifts; and recognize that potential through establishing progressively more “formal” employment relationships – internships.
If you have a leadership challenge you are trying to meet, don’t underestimate the power of a “hundred bucks.” Hire an intern, pay them $100 a week, give them an office; computer; and cell phone, and watch them develop into a “staff member.” Don’t underestimate how the power of giving someone “a seat at the leadership table” will call for premier levels of effort!